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Boarding Lodging & Rooming (BLR) Houses

Every boarding lodging & rooming house (small or large, new or existing) must be licensed by the City.

Are you a landlord or tenant? Please visit Landlord & Tenant Information.

For zoning and licensing purposes, BLR houses are defined as:

  • A dwelling where lodging is provided for one or more tenants where at least 1 of the tenant-occupied rooms is equipped with an external locking mechanism that prevents access to said room by the other house occupants when the room is unoccupied, or;
  • Lodging is provided for more than 4 tenants.
  • It does not include a group home, hotel, motel, hospital, children's home, assisted living facility, or a bed and breakfast establishment, or other similar establishments.

Small Boarding Lodging Rooming Houses

A small BLR house is one where lodging is provided for not more than six (6) tenants. Development standards outline that a small BLR house shall: 

  1. Be permitted in all residential zones;
  2. Be compliant with all other standards of the zone in which the development is located;
  3. Have a maximum of one kitchen, at least one bathroom and at least one other room; 
  4. Each rentable sleeping room or suite shall have a minimum of 7sq. metres (75 sq. ft.) of habitable living space;
  5. The total aggregate floor area of all sleeping rooms shall not exceed 40% of the total habitable living space in the house;
  6. The occupants of the house must operate as a single housekeeping unit;
  7. No BLR house, Small shall be permitted to locate within 75m or another licensed BLR house in the R1, R2, R3, R4 and RM1 zones;
  8. 1 parking space for every two (2) tenants accommodated shall be provided. Tandem parking will be permitted. The minimum size for each parking space is 2.7 m x 5.5 m. 

Large Boarding Lodging Rooming Houses

A large BLR house is a one where lodging is provided for more than six (6) tenants.​ Large BLR houses are permitted in the RM2, RA1 and RA2 zones and must comply with all other standards of the zone. Development standards include:

  • Each sleeping room or suite to be rented shall have a minimum of 7 sq. metres (75 sq. ft.) of habitable living space.
  • 1 parking space for every two (2) tenants accommodated shall be provided. Tandem parking is not permitted . The minimum size for each parking space is 2.7 m x 5.5 m.

Licensing Requirements

Written verification that the BLR house is in compliance with the requirements of the Ontario Building Code, Fire Code and the City's Property Standards By-law must be provided to Enforcement Services.

Building Code requirements respecting fire and life safety for BLR houses are much more stringent than the requirements for single detached dwellings. Upgrading a single detached dwelling to a BLR house requires significant construction and has significant costs associated with that construction. 

​If you note a BLR house that is not licensed please contact Enforcement Services at 705-739-4241 or

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I have tenants reside in my home without being considered as a BLR House?

​A property does not require a BLR licence if the number of tenants does not exceed a total of four (4) and the tenanted bedroom door handles remain free of external locking mechanisms.

I operated a BLR house before the zoning by-laws were changed. Am I required to meet all of the minimum requirements?

If you can prove that a BLR house existed prior to December 10th, 2007 you are not required to meet the new minimum zoning standards. The property in question would be considered a legal non-conforming unit. You are required to be licensed by the Enforcement Services office.

What are the steps I need to take when applying to be approved to operate a BLR house​?

Both small and large BLR houses are required to be licensed.

Step 1: Obtain an application from Enforcement Services at 45 Cedar Pointe Drive, Barrie.

Step 2: Contact Service Barrie to arrange for Zoning and Building approvals, including a Building Permit (Change of Use) Application if required.

Step 3: Arrange for a property standards inspection and approval at the Enforcement Services Office (Additional User Fees Applicable)

Step 4: Arrange for a Fire Department inspection and approval -- call 705-728-3199 or attend 155 Dunlop St. W. Barrie (Additional User Fee Applicable) payable at time of inspection.

Step 5: Bring your completed application with all the required signatures and documentation back to Enforcement Services at 45 Cedar Pointe Drive, Barrie.

Please Note: Your application must be accompanied by the following information about your building and property:

  1. Certificate of Inspection for Heating System (current within 5 years)
  2. Certificate of Inspection for Electrical System (current within 5 years) 
  3. Proof of Liability Insurance Coverage – minimum of $2 million dollars coverage
  4. Detailed Floor Plan: including dimensions of all rooms and living spaces
  5. Detailed Parking Plan: including all dimensions of parking spaces, setbacks from property lines and structures; sight lines etc.

24-hour contact information of Manager/Superintendent or other persons responsible for premises.​

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